AGONY OF A BOY, 3

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Francis and Samantha Bele with their son Xavier inside the Children’s Ward at the National Referral Hospital (NRH)
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Help Xavier get the cancer treatment he needs overseas

By OFANI EREMAE

AS he hugged his critically-ill son on his bed at the National Referral Hospital (NRH), Francis Bele could not imagine losing a child he called “the apple of my eye”.

But Bele’s fears may likely happen if son Xavier Bele, 3, who is suffering from cancer of the blood (leukemia), is unable to get the treatment he needs overseas.

“This cancer is rapidly eating away the health of my son,” a tearful Bele, from central Guadalcanal, told the Island Sun this week.

“The pain he is going through every day breaks my heart,” he added.

Xavier has been sick for eight weeks before he was diagnosed with leukemia on 21 June this year.

Doctors at the NRH have told Bele and his wife Samantha there’s no treatment for the cancer locally.

This means Xavier has to travel overseas if he is to get a second change in life.

A lively and playful Xavier Bele before he was diagnosed with leukemia.

But medical treatment overseas does not come cheap. It’s costly – far beyond an ordinary Solomon Islands family could afford.

And that’s the challenge Bele and Samantha face as they scramble to raise funds to send Xavier for treatment abroad.

“Frankly, we don’t have the money for Xavier’s medical treatment,” Bele said.

“This is why we are working with family members and friends to try and raise enough funds so that we can send Xavier overseas,” he added.

A number of small fundraising efforts have already been held in recent weeks to raise funds for Xavier’s cause.

A cousin of Bele, Israel Sibia, who is currently in Australia, has also set up a Go-Fund-Me page on the internet as part of the fundraising effort.

In Honiara, a number of groups are also preparing to chip in.

Island Sun understands Zumba groups are planning a weekend marathon Zumba dance for Xavier.

One More Shot, a group of young photographers, says they’ll meet this weekend to plan how to raise funds.

For Francis and Samantha, life has not been the same again since their Xavier was diagnosed with the cancer.

“For the last three months, this has been our home,” Samantha says, referring to the Children’s ward where Xavier has been admitted.

“I hardly slept,” she added.

In pain…Xavier on his sick bed at the National Referral Hospital.

“Xavier has been in pain everyday and he does not want anyone else to be by his side, except me and Francis.

“So we have to be here for him day and night.

“I’ve taken leave and I don’t know how long I’ll be on leave,” Samantha, who works as a medical technician at the NRH, says.

At the children’s ward, Xavier, once a lively and playful child, is unable to walk around.

“Since it is a cancer located in the marrow of the bone, the pain he experiences from it made him unable to walk,” according to doctors.

“That’s because most of the pain comes from the bones of the legs.”

Xavier has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment, but now his body is not responding to the treatment.

So he will need what doctors called Bone Marrow Transfusion – a treatment that is costly and cannot be done locally.

Francis and Samantha appeal to the public to donate whatever amount of money they can to give their son a second chance in life.


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